Wisconsin Historical Society

Guide or Instruction

Notifying the Wisconsin Historical Society

Notifying the Wisconsin Historical Society | Wisconsin Historical Society

The Wisconsin Historical Society has statutory responsibility to collect, maintain and make available for use permanently valuable records of Wisconsin's local governments and court system. Wisconsin Statute 19.21(5)(d) and Supreme Court Rule 72.04 require that notification to the Society at least 60 days prior to the destruction of ALL public records.

Notification Process

All local governments can follow the following procedure to ensure they are meeting the statutory requirements stated above:

  • Identify the records you are going to destroy and make sure the minimum period of time required by statute or ordinance has passed.
  • Notify the Wisconsin Historical Society of the records at least 60 days before they are destroyed.
  • Please include the following information in all notification letters:
    • Titles of each record series to be destroyed.
    • Years covered by the records
    • Volume (size or quantity) of records.
    • Name and phone number of a knowledgeable person who could answer questions about the use and content of the records.
  • Direct notification letter to:

    Matt Blessing, State Archivist
    Wisconsin Historical Society 
    816 State Street 
    Madison, WI  53706-1482

Note: Courts are permitted to fill out and mail in notification form GF-110 rather than write a notification letter. The form is available for use through the Wisconsin Court System website.

The Wisconsin Historical Society will respond in writing within the 60 day period usually with one of the following responses:

  • Decline transfer of the records.
  • Decline transfer and provide a waiver to the local government to dispose of these categories of records in the future without further notification.
  • Express the Society's interest in either acquiring or reviewing the records for transfer. The Local Government Records Archivist will contact you after the reply has been mailed to set up a time for transfer. 
Notification Waivers

Record series that have been previously waived by the Society by written reply letters, or are identified as being waived in any record schedules approved for use by the Public Records Board, can be destroyed WITHOUT written notification once they have passed the required retention period.

Records that are 75 years or older should NOT be destroyed before contacting the society, regardless if they have been previously waived. Local governments should contact the Local Government Records Archivist to check and see if these older records may be of interest for transfer. 

Have Questions?

Local governments with questions about the notification process or the transfer of obsolete public records should contact the Local Government Records Archivist at (608) 264-6469 or through the email below.

govarc@wisconsinhistory.org